How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34906
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Clare is online now

I am permanently separated from a marriage partner and considering

This answer was rated:

I am permanently separated from a marriage partner and considering 'Legal separation' to protect myself from financial liabilities. Please let me know what are the current criteria for a 'legal separation' and to whom I should apply. Thank you.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
May I ask why you are not seeking a divorce?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Clare

I may pursue divorce at some point but her religious convictions only allow for divorce on certain grounds which are not present at the moment. So a divorce in this instance would prove to be traumatic. But the relationship has irreparably broken down, defamatory comments being made to others that reflect on my character and other vindictive occurrences experienced. I am concerned that in my absence I may incur financial liabilities. So my question is: will I have grounds for which a 'legal separation' would be granted? If so, who do I approach?

Thank you for your assistance


I am not sure what you mean by a "legal separation" - could you explain what you hope to achieve?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I have always understood that, further to a couple physically separating, there was a legal process whereby their condition would be recognized in law so that their marital status, while it lasts, would not allow either to incur debts that could be required of the other nor for either to be restricted from applying for means-tested benefits as a person alone. Is there such a legally recognized condition as 'legally separated'?


In fact all you have to do is live apart - you are not responsible for any debts that are not in your name and you can claim benefits if you are no longer together - there is no need for anything more formal
If you wish to have something in writing then you can try and agree a Separation Agreement that you can both sign.
The only other option is a Judicial Separation - which follows the process of a Divorce in every way - except that ay the end of it you cannot remarry
It is rarely used since it is just as expensive as a divorce
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Clare

Your explanation of Judicial Separation is very helpful. With regard to divorce: Is there a requirement of mediation (which I would not want)? or a minimum period of separation? And if both agree to the divorce and there are no disputes about children, property, money, etc, can the suit be dealt with by the court without either party attending? What would be an average cost of such a divorce process?

Thank you once again for your insight into the detail of family law.


There is no requirement for Mediation.
There are five possible grounds for divorce - they are set out here
The first two are immediate grounds - the only requirement is that you have been married for a year
If there are no disputes then the matter is essentially dealt with by post.
The Court fees are £470 in total - and you can deal with the paperwork yourself if you wish
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you